When my Mom & Dad downsized their house in 2014 I was gifted with my Mom’s hutch. There isn’t a big family history with the piece, it was just always in our house growing up. At the time, my husband and I lived in a historic painted lady home and it fit perfectly with the lovely dark wood trim in the home, but when we moved to coastal Florida last year it became painfully obvious that this piece needed a makeover of the sea breeze variety.
I like a good project, but generally mostly quick ones that involves like 5 minutes of prep and then some spray paint, so I knew I had my work cut out for me when I started reading about how to refinish stained wood the RIGHT way. My optimism got the best of me for sure because I thought it’d take like a day or two to sand the wood down. In the end, this project took about three weeks but in my opinion, worth it for the results.
Today I removed all doors, drawers, glass and hardware. This doesn't seem like a super big job, but it did take a few hours. Once completed, we took the hutch off the base and moved everything to the garage. That was enough for one day.
Today I started with the orbital sander and some 60 grit sandpaper. When we moved the hutch outside, I was able to see more clearly the really deep scratches in the wood and that I'd need to do several sandings to get the surface smooth once again.
Not a great day overall...That detail across the top was a pain to sand. I digress. I cracked the veneer that is the back of the hutch because I lost my balance and stepped on it. So, it's fine. I was thinking about replacing it with wainscoting or wallpapering it anyway, so I didn't bother to sand it because now I know it's coming off.
Let me pause right here to say that when you live in Florida and you are doing a project like this in your garage in July, you can’t avoid sawdust accumulating on and within every part of your body and the parts that are covered are also soaking wet from your sweat. Wearing a mask and safety glasses was so stinking hot but add to that all the sawdust that is stuck to your sweat and it's like wearing a light wool jacket!!
I sanded 2-3 hours every day for 10 days. My shoulders are so buff-looking right now, but my fingers just ached. I started with an orbital sander and a 60 grit sandpaper. That helped me get below the knicks in the surface. Once I did the bigger sections with the orbital, I moved to the Dremel and did the smaller areas with a 120 grit. Everything else had to be sanded by hand, and that was the hardest part. After everything was sanded, I had to go over all the surfaces again with a 120 grit paper. The final sanding was a quick all-over with some 400 grit, which did almost nothing, but I read somewhere that I was suppose to so I did.
Jim took the hutch back off and started working on the new one and while he did that I sprayed everything down with the air hose to try to clean up. After the air settled again, I wiped down the hutch and base with mineral spirits to prep the surfaces for painting. If I were into farmhouse style, I may have just waxed the thing and left it because it's pretty darn cute without the stain, but that wasn't my vision for this project.
Primetime! Primed with BIN shellac primer. All I can say is that stuff was drying so fast due to the heat and we had to work quickly. Jim helped me that day. We did two coats and it didn’t take long at all.
I wanted to do wainscoating for the back, but the size I needed to do it in one piece wouldn't fit in the Highlander. I was pretty disappointed, but Jim thought this shiplap could work and it comes in a box, which definitely fit in the car. This was his first time working with the stuff but he's pretty handy and he did an amazing job.
Cabinet Hardware was a nightmare. Apparently you can’t go to Home Depot and get the size I need so I ended up having to Rustoleum the vintage pieces of hardware that were original to the dresser. I also bought some knobs, and I ordered some more, too, but they haven’t arrived yet.
I know that's hard to read but we found a date stamp that we think says Nov 6, 1975.
Finally, we got to paint! Two coats of Behr Chalk Paint in Icy Gray. After we moved the hutch back inside and reassembled it, I used wood Wax to protect the surface.
This piece of furniture doesn't have some super-special sentimental story, other than I know my parents bought it early in their marriage and this piece of furniture was in the background of many of my childhood memories.
My dad passed away in 2018, but I think he would have been thrilled to see the restoration. I LOVE IT but I also love the story it tells and the memories it holds of my childhood.